Boring, the Emmys red carpet is not. Because when TV’s finest assemble for a good old-fashioned Hollywood celebration, there’s guaranteed to be a few colorful moments in the mix. Sure, there are the gorgeous bombshell dresses we all adore. But then, there are those ensembles that take a turn for the funkier. Want to relive the craziest and most memorable Emmys red carpet looks? Look no further. We’re talking barely-there sheet dresses, throwback rock ‘n’ roll getups, a gown that *literally* channels the actual Emmys award — the works.
Whether you love them or loathe ’em, there are some dazzling Emmys looks that just cannot be forgotten. They’re bold. They’re brazen. And yes, they’re totally badass.
Ahead of this weekend’s awards show, go ahead and peruse our picks for the wildest looks ever to walk down the Emmys red carpet. Trust us, you won’t be underwhelmed.
1Cyndi Lauper, 1995
Ow, ow! The classic ’80s songstress picked up an Emmy of her own for her guest starring role in Mad About You, and in the process let her true colors show in a punchy black and gold ensemble…with hair to match. But hey, this lady has always been unapologetically funky, and it’s one of the many reasons we adore her.
2Lena Dunham, 2014
Taking the cake for the most literal red carpet confection ever to hit the Emmys red carpet is this Giambattista Valli dress. The full, frosting-inspired skirt turned more than a few heads, and set Lena up as one of the most buzzed about stars of the evening. And while this dress may not be everyone’s first choice as their own gown, Lena pulled it off like a true red carpet queen.
3Sarah Paulson, 2014
Could there have been a more on-point dress for the American Horror Story goddess? This macabre Armani Privé gown deserves a fashion-inspired season of its own. And in an ironic twist of events, it may even qualify as a trigger for Paulson’s Season 7 character’s trypophobia, AKA a fear of small holes.
4Tess Smith, 2005
Okay, so this one may qualify as more of a sheet than a dress. But it also qualify as *really* unforgettable, so mission accomplished, Tess.
5Lucy Liu, 2012
This statuesque Versace could double as a chic suit of armor in a pinch. Which makes it the perfect pick for Charlie’s Angels’ Lucy Liu, who’s proven her warrior-like skills on screen.
6Heidi Klum, 2015
This lacy, embellished yellow Versace dress certainly did not want for detail!
7Victoria Rowell, 2009
Unforgettable? Check. The Young and the Restless actress made a fun political display, wearing the face of then President Obama across her dress.
8Kerry Washington, 2015
Whew! Never before did we realize how ferocious a chainmail midi could be until we saw this Marc Jacobs design. Again, this look is not going to be for the faint of heart. It is, however, perfectly appropriate for a TV (and IRL) gladiator like the Scandal star.
9Joan Rivers, 2003
The late Joan Rivers was and always will be an exquisite red carpet force. This diva-licious look was totally crazy, unconventional, and 100 percent Joan. Her molted feather confection, much like the star herself, is one for the ages.
10Barbara Streisand, 2004
From this ensemble, we know this to be true: Barbara Streisand *so* called the return of the velvet trend. The iconic singer slipped into the rosy cape for the 2004 Emmys red carpet, and while a warm cape like this one may not make sense for an early fall awards show, we’re certain she made use of it inside. Afterall, big venues like those are all freezing.
11Anna Chlumsky, 2016
This punchy gown has quite the sweet tale to it. The Veep star had just given birth seven weeks prior to her red carpet appearance, and worked closely with designer Christian Siriano to craft a dress that would make her feel as good as she looked.
“I think definitely it was a risk,” Christian Siriano told People of the gown. “We all knew it was going to be something fun and different and not everybody would get it and that’s okay.”
12Bai Ling, 2003
The Chinese-American actress is not afraid to take a red carpet risk, and we’re into her killer confidence.
13Phoebe Price, 2008
Okay, so this one looks like it could double for a killer Halloween costume, right? We’re totally taking notes for ourselves.
14Paula Abdul, 2013
Channeling the Emmy award itself, Paula? How adorably on-theme.
15Joanna Newsom, 2015
This Delpozo dress may have been better suited as a work of actual art versus a red carpet gown, but who cares? It’s Delpozo, people. One does not simply turn down the opportunity to wear Delopozo.